Porlock Bay not certain to defend his Cheltenham Hunters’ Chase title

Will Biddick has revealed his Cheltenham Festival hero Porlock Bay could skip a defence of his St James’s Place Hunters’ Chase title and instead be aimed at the Aintree equivalent.

The 11-year-old’s hard-fought victory over Billaway last March was one of the few bright moments of a testing Festival for the home team.

But he is not certain to return to Prestbury Park next month after being beaten by Philip Rowley’s Salvatore on his return under rules at Bangor last week.

Biddick said: “I was disappointed with him at Bangor. For me, as a rider, he ran below par – he should have done better. For some reason he didn’t really stay, so there’s something we’ve got to iron out.

“We’re still assessing him and it’ll be either Cheltenham or Liverpool next, but we’re giving him a good look over and we might swerve Cheltenham.”

It was Lorcan Williams who steered Porlock Bay to Festival glory last year, with Covid protocols meaning amateur jockeys were barred from riding.

Will Biddick (right) with Porlock Bay after his Cheltenham triumph
Will Biddick (right) with Porlock Bay after his Cheltenham triumph (David Davies/PA)

However, Biddick, who is a decorated jockey in his own right, is looking forward to being in the saddle for one of the spring festivals, with the challenge of tackling Aintree’s Grand National fences an exciting one.

“He’d be suited to it (Aintree) – he jumps, he travels and stays three miles,” he added.

“I wouldn’t change last year for the world, but he’s still got another big race in him and we’ll have a go and see what happens.”

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